HP To Buy Palm for $1.2 Billion

Breaking news, fresh off of the wire: HP just finalized agreements to buy Palm for $1.2 billion dollars.

HP’s $1.2 billion dollar purchase breaks down to roughly $5.70 per share of common stock. While this is spot on with the $1.2-$1.3 billion pricetag Palm was rumored to be shopping around as of late, it’s still a mammoth difference from what Palm was trading at just months ago. In October 2009, Palm was worth about $17.46 per share; by January of this year, that was down to $13.41. It has, unfortunately, been a downward spiral ever since.

And for all you webOS fans out there: Don’t worry — it doesn’t look like the platform is going anywhere just yet. It appears that the companies plan to continue the development of webOS, leveraging HP to “rapidly accelerate the growth” of the platform.

HP has seemingly been lightening their efforts in the pocketable mobile space lately — but with the iPAQ line and countless Pocket PC handsets behind them, they’re by no means strangers to it.

However, the smartphone space might not be HP’s only interest here – given HP’s recent desire to take on Apple in the tablet space (with the HP Slate) and that Windows-powered tablets just don’t seem to sell, might we see a webOS-powered tablet sometime in the future? Paired with the proper hardware, webOS could easily make for an absolutely incredible tablet experience.

Even if HP abandoned webOS altogether (which, again, doesn’t appear to be the plan right now), they just bought them selves a monstrous card to play: Palm’s patent catalog. It’s a porcupine tactic: It’s hard to make a big dent in the smartphone biz when every company around can throw patent infringement suits at you — but when you’ve got hundreds upon hundreds of patents (or quills) in your armory, people are going to be a whole lot more careful about stepping on you.

Contrary to previous whispers, it appears that CEO Jon Rubinstein will be staying with the company. To quote the release, “Palm’s current chairman and CEO, Jon Rubinstein, is expected to remain with the company.”